June 13, 2018

Florida Court Finds There Must Be Hearing On Dispute As To Rent

The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District recently considered a commercial eviction case. In that case, the landlord filed a complaint for eviction and for damages for nonpayment of rent.  The commercial tenant allegedly asked for a hearing to determine the amount of rent he would be required to post in the court registry pursuant to applicable Florida statute.  The trial court denied the tenant’s request for a hearing and ordered the tenant to pay a certain amount.  When the tenant allegedly failed to pay that amount, the trial court entered a default final judgment for possession.  The tenant appealed to the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District.  

On appeal, the appellate court reversed the default final judgment and remanded the case to the trial court to hold the required statutory evidentiary hearing. The appellate court stated that “[b]oth this case and [the] Double Park [case] involve post-lease adjustments to ‘rent’ set forth in a lease.”  The appellate court went on to state that “[w]here there is a dispute as to the amount of such adjustments, section 83.232(2) requires an evidentiary hearing prior to an order requiring the posting of the adjustments in the court registry.” Furthermore, the appellate court stated that “[w]e distinguish this case from more common situations in which a tenant, facing eviction, claims as a defense to the non-payment of rent that the landlord breached some other lease provision not expressly tied to the amount of rent set forth in the lease.” The appellate court stated that “[t]hose situations are not controlled by today's decision, which is limited to a lease provision describing an event which expressly alters the amount of rent set forth in the lease.”

For more information about the topic of this blog post, please contact Stark Weber PLLC’s Steven D. Weber at 305-377-8788 or steve@starkweber.com.